The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Notes from the Field: Robert Muttilainen '16

Article Type 
Student Intern: Robert Muttilainen '16

Internship Organization: 
American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire

How would you describe your employer in one paragraph? What’s the elevator pitch?
The ACLU of New Hampshire fights to protect civil liberties guaranteed in the United States and New Hampshire Constitutions. Through civil rights advocacy, education, lobbying, and litigation, the ACLU-NH works to protect freedom and equality for all residents of New Hampshire. The ACLU-NH is a non-profit, non-partisan affiliate organization of the National ACLU, which is comprised of over 500,000 members.

What are your specific responsibilities in the organization?
As an intern for the ACLU-NH, I have a few roles, mainly assisting the executive director. I have done legislative and policy research on a variety of topics including fetal homicide, right to die, trans* athlete policies, and student data privacy. Furthermore, I have helped maintain social media outlets and created a best practice guide for a small, busy office to maximize their social media presence and effectiveness. Lastly, I have shadowed the legal director and attended the New Hampshire District Court multiple times.

How did you feel on the first day of your internship?
The ACLU-NH is a fun, energetic, and busy office environment that I have been welcomed to with open arms since day one. Walking into the office for the first time, I could feel a sense of passion from the staff to make a positive difference in New Hampshire and fight for the ACLU’s mission, which made me all the more excited to intern for the ACLU-NH.

What is your favorite part of the internship so far?
The most rewarding part of the internship experience so far is my time with the ACLU-NH has affirmed for me that I want to be a lawyer. The staff at the ACLU-NH is incredibly inspiring, and watching the legal director in court has given me greater insight on what it means to be a lawyer. A big reason I wanted to work for the ACLU-NH in the first place was to find out more about public interest law, and I have found it to be a field I would enjoy.

What challenges have you faced so far?
The ACLU-NH is a small office so my tasks can vary each day. This has allowed me to gain exposure to many different aspects that make up the nonprofit as well as the different issues that are of interest to the ACLU. I enjoy the variety and stay flexible to meet the varying demands of the organization.

Broadly speaking, what do you hope to achieve by the end of your internship?
I simply hope to continue to gain exposure and learn as much as I can about the ACLU-NH’s legal and legislative work and the issues of importance to upholding the ACLU’s mission.

What have been some practical lessons you've learned in the day-to-day life of your internship?
First, try to always eat lunch with co-workers. Second, take advantage of all that is offered to you.



The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences